The idiom eat humble pie means to face humiliation and subsequently apologize for a serious mistake. It comes from humble pie, originally umble pie, a kind of pie formerly made from the edible organs of a deer or hog,[1] based on medieval meat pies.[2][3] An umble pie is a pie filled with chopped or minced offal, especially of deer but often other meats, called umbles in Middle English, which derived from the word numble (after the Middle French nombles), meaning "deer's innards".[1][4]

Although "umbles" and the modern word "humble" are not etymologically unrelated, each word has appeared with and without the initial "h" after the Middle Ages until the 19th century. Since the sound "h" is dropped in many dialects, the phrase was hypercorrected or changed due to folk etymology to "humble pie".[1][5] While "umble" is now gone from the language, the phrase remains, carrying the fossilized word as many other idioms do.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "The American Heritage Dictionary entry: humble pie". Retrieved 2024-02-12.
  2. ^ "Epicurious – Recipes, Menu Ideas, Videos & Cooking Tips". Epicurious. Retrieved 2024-02-12.
  3. ^ "Encyclopedia - Umble Pie". Gourmet Britain. Archived from the original on 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2013-04-12.
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  5. ^